Trinidad Offshore Fabricators Unlimited: Poised for Global Expansion from Trinidad’s Shores

A company established specifically to serve the offshore industry off the coast of the island nation of Trinidad is ready to spread its wings internationally. Now in its eighth year of business, Trinidad Offshore Fabricators Unlimited (TOFCO) is putting out feelers to take on new projects in South American and African nations including Brazil, Guyana, Venezuela, Ghana and Nigeria.

“We feel we now have gained enough experience and have enough knowledge to go to the next phase of our life,”

Managing Director Shuresh Gangabissoon says. “We have a lot of government officials from these nations come here to look at our business model because they want to find a way to adopt it.”

TOFCO has prepared bids to work on fabrication and construction projects for offshore platforms and other facilities serving the oil and gas industries. In addition, Gangabissoon has visited with potential partners to drive new business. “Our vision is to take TOFCO internationally,” he explains. “We want to be recognized worldwide and continue to do a high quality of work.”

Deep Capabilities
TOFCO was founded in 2003 as a joint venture of Chet Morrison Contractors Inc. – a Houma, La.-based offshore platform and piping contractor – and Weldfab Ltd. of Trinidad.

“The company stems from BP’s drive to do more projects locally,” Gangabissoon says. “At the time, local firms did not have the expertise to perform the sort of projects they wanted, so they invited international contractors who have expertise in offshore platform work to team up with local contractors to share their knowledge.”

While TOFCO maintains ownership ties to its parent companies, it functions as an independent company, performing its own projects and procurement. “We used to capitalize on Chet Morrison Contractors’ relationships with suppliers until we ventured onto our own and suppliers got to know us better,” he adds.

Since its founding, TOFCO has completed five major offshore platform jacket and deck fabrication projects for BP, as well one for British Gas and two for EOG Resources Inc. The company also has experience in welding and process plant fabrication.

The company’s 37-acre waterfront facility in La Brea, Trinidad, gives it the ability to easily ship completed deck and other pieces for customers to assemble offshore. The facility includes a dock with a 30-foot water depth; a 500-foot bulkhead and several heavy lift cranes and other pieces of equipment. TOFCO is able to schedule deliveries on a 24-hour basis.

“Because of our location and access to a deep waterfront, we have a dominant share in our market; our location gives us an advantage,” Gangabissoon says.

TOFCO’s recent work includes a number of smaller maintenance and fabrication projects in support of oil and gas customers including blasting, painting and piping. The company also provides storage, equipment rentals and consulting work to clients.

“We are in a program of diversification here – we started off focusing totally on the offshore business, but over the years we’ve branched out into working on refineries and petrochemical plants,” he adds. “Anything we can fabricate here and take to a refinery or a process plant we’re willing to do.”

‘YOUR Brother’s Keeper’
TOFCO strives to follow its motto of “Be Your Brother’s Keeper” in the way it treats and trains employees as well as in its ties to the community.

The company employs a youthful but skilled workforce of welders, fabricators, riggers and others whom it cross-trains across several disciplines, Gangabissoon says.

“When we started here we were the new kid on the block, so the existing workforce here was hesitant to work for us. We took young employees (under 25 years of age) and groomed them for this work,” he adds. “We guarantee when we set our workforce on a task that they have the ability to do the task and maintain our high safety standards.”

The company has completed more than 6 million man-hours without a lost-time accident. All employees are trained, tested and certified to meet international quality and safety standards.

Outside of its fabrication facility, TOFCO’s employees assist residents of the La Brea community by donating time and food to organizations including schools, a local orphanage and a home for the elderly.

“We do our best to assist the community and are constantly involved,” Gangabissoon says.